I am intrigued by the tulip fields in the Netherlands. I am intrigued by a great number of European places and interests. I want try it out. I want to experience Europe. I don't mean I want to take an intense ten day vacation across the Atlantic to see the Eiffle Tower and Swiss Alps. I want to live there. I want it so badly. I can't explain it but I just want to get to know the people. See things differently. Ride the Eurorail and eat cheese all the time.
Speaking of cheese, I want to sort out all the stereotypes. I want destroy preconceived notions. I just want to be someplace foreign. But not just anywhere. I'm not sure why I don't feel this way about Africa or the Asian world. I've been to South America now and while I feel there is a great deal to learn from those folks, it is Europe that my heart longs for.
I posted this picture of the Dutch tulip fields, and from then on I became obsessed.
On our second day in Holland, at Efteling, I noticed a large rotunda full of tulips. The unfortunate thing was, they were only about four inches tall. My heart sank. Tulips aren't like most crops, they don't germinate and blossom on an approximate timetable calculated at planting. They are bulbs, planted months or years before, so they grow and blossom on Mother Nature's timetable. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I was devastated. I had to take a deep breath and hold out a glimmer of hope just to continue to enjoy our time at Efteling.
Sadly, the next day in Amsterdam my suspicions were confirmed, and I realized that there wasn't a tulip to be found in the Netherlands, except the little wooden ones sold at tourist shops.
We packed up a lunch, and lots of Easter candy and drove up north. We talked about going to Keukenhof gardens, a world famous Dutch garden that I'm sure would have knocked our socks off, but it was really expensive. We decided to just drive to it, check it out and see what we could see, but the traffic queue to get there was a complete standstill so we just kept on driving.
Eventually we got to a place where I could see the tulip fields. Once again, my heart sank. I could just IMAGINE what it would look like in full bloom. It was interesting because someone told Richard that if it was a warm spring to go in March, and then we heard from plenty of people that if it's a cool spring you don't get to see the tulips until the last two weeks of April. It would have been impossible to know for sure when they would bloom.
Despite its disappointments, the day turned out to be a nice celebration of Easter and family and this life, that I'm really living in Europe.